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The 5-step checklist small-business owners should use to prepare for 2023, including investing in new technology

  • Small-business owners should start prepping for the new year now. 
  • With elevated prices and potential recession on the horizon, the next year could bring new challenges.
  • Here are five ways small business owners can prepare for the first quarter of 2023. 

For many people, the start of a new year is all about resolutions and future goals. For business owners, the start of the year welcomes the first quarter and strategy planning. 

Right now, it’s imperative for business owners to be prepared as they grapple with a potential recession, increased inflation, and a competitive labor market prompted by the “Great Resignation.” Setting clear strategies for the year ahead can help entrepreneurs prepare, even if they’re thrown another crisis-inspired curveball. 

Here are five ways small business owners can prepare for the first quarter. 

Dominic-Madori Davis contributed to a previous version of this article. 

1. Determine your best point of sale

As COVID-19 pushed us online, e-commerce, social media marketing, and live-streaming became valuable tools for entrepreneurs. But this year, as some customers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores, it’s important to decide which method of sale is best for your business.

Entrepreneurs should meet their customers where they’re shopping. For many, that’s still online. If you haven’t experimented with livestream shopping yet, now is a good time to start. Virtual events can engage customers and incentivize them to shop online, according to the entrepreneurs who host them.

Retailers who use livestreaming typically broadcast from three to eight hours, and some Insider spoke with make $1,000 to $9,000 per event.

But not all online sales platforms are designed for every entrepreneur, so it’s key to find the one — or ones — that fulfills your needs and caters to your audience. For example, retail stores should consider selling on Shopify, while service providers can try platforms like Fiverr.

Meanwhile, certain industries, like restaurants and food, should reevaluate their sales methods for the new year. 

“Some companies that have made a big shift to online are actually shifting back to in-person,” said Tom Sagi, cofounder and CEO at payroll company Hourly. Mom-and-pop shops that invested heavily in their e-commerce platforms to sustain business in the last two years might be able to invest in different areas in 2023, he added. 

Insider broke business owners into four categories based on what and how they sold — retailers, resellers, makers, and content creators — and laid out 23 platforms they could pick from.

2. Focus on social media

For many business owners, Instagram can be a lucrative selling platform. But it takes outside apps to make content on the social-media site pop with special filters, graphics, and fonts. 

Insider asked entrepreneurs which apps and programs helped them craft the perfect posts, from editing pictures to scheduling content ahead of time.  

3. Invest in new technologies

The start of the year is the easiest time to invest in new practices and procedures that can help businesses operate, Sagi said. 

“Adapting technologies that help them run their business in a better and smoother way is super important,” he added. He suggests improving areas like employee retention, payroll, and point-of-service systems. 

Additionally, customer service is another important area for business owners. 

Offer clients multiple venues to get in touch with your team, Vic Drabicky, a retail and digital-marketing expert, previously told Insider.

“If you don’t have the right infrastructure in place, whether that be servers, fulfillment, or customer service, then you’re putting yourself at risk,” he said.

If you need efficient customer service to assist customers, consider using technology platforms. Insider broke down the seven apps that could help businesses.

4. Reassess financial items based on growth

Budget line items will likely change from year-to-year, based on how your company is scaling, Sagi said. “With the new year, it’s a good opportunity to do some house cleaning and make sure that everything is in check,” he added. 

He suggests entrepreneurs reassess financial components like their insurance, employees, and government lending programs they’re using.

If the company is scaling, business owners should ensure all employees are classified properly and have workers comp insurance, if applicable. What’s more, entrepreneurs should invest in hiring professionals like corporate attorneys, consultants, and other experts who could help a startup grow, he added. 

Manage burnout by accepting failure 

While exercise, sleep, and spending time with loved ones can combat burnout, entrepreneurs should also protect their mental health by accepting failure, Michael Freeman, the founder of the entrepreneur-mental-wellness startup Econa, said. About 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Don’t criticize yourself or blame yourself,” Freeman, who also works as a psychiatrist and executive coach for business owners, said. “The middle ground between success and failure is, ‘We did our best, and our customers actually appreciate that we did it at our best.'”

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